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Capitals’ trade deadline plan is quite cloudy

Feb 21, 2012, 8:56 PM EDT

Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble,  Alexander Semin AP

Losing to the Carolina Hurricanes is one thing; totally falling on your face in a nationally televised game is another. As close as the Washington Capitals are to a playoff spot, one could argue that they’re the most depressing team not located in the NHL’s basement.*

The Caps have dealt with some significant injuries, which prompts some to call for reinforcements. CSNWashington’s Chuck Gormley asks a sobering question, though: should GM George McPhee even consider his team “sellers” instead?

So McPhee must ask himself this question: Is it time to unload soon-to-be unrestricted free agents Mike Knuble, Alex Semin and Dennis Wideman before they flee somewhere else on July 1?

Or should he keep what he’s built, cross his fingers that center Nicklas Backstrom returns from his concussion and take his chances that the Caps go on a season-ending run that extends well into the postseason?

The first paragraph is what makes this situation so interesting. Washington has a bevy of high-profile free agents. It’s part of the reason that I wrote that McPhee should keep things together for one last run in the preseason (which already hasn’t come true with Bruce Boudreau’s firing).

One interesting omission from Gormley’s list is soon-to-be-free agent Mike Green, which might speak as much to his injury-rendered irrelevance than anything else. To me, McPhee likely needs to choose between Green or Wideman – if he wants one of the offensive blueliners. Going into this season, it seemed like Wideman could be classified as the poor man’s version of Green, but Green’s been so riddled with injuries you have to wonder if Washington might opt for Wideman.

(Tomas Vokoun‘s also set to be a free agent, by the way.)

With all things in mind, should McPhee clean house, keep a handful of those players or just give everyone a chance to make it work? Share your armchair managing tips in the comments.

* – At least in the Eastern Conference; the Minnesota Wild present a similarly demoralized West representative.

  1. fleurysteeth - Feb 21, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    They should trade that bum Ovechkin while people still think he’s valuable. His number isn’t 8. It’s just 2 big ol’ zeros staked on top of each other.

  2. jpelle82 - Feb 21, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    sell sell sell. starting with semin.

  3. dagnats - Feb 21, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    sell, sell, sell…do a partial rebuild this offseason…unload some players this trade deadline that are not cutting it…I’d rather have the caps do it right than do it half-a$$ed like they would getting a rental player at the deadline(i.e. remember joe corvo, scott walker?), do it right or do not do it at all…its clear this team has more problems than a rental player will fix…

  4. chasenmoney - Feb 21, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Trade Shultz and semin for starters get rid of green then see what you can get in return or trade ovie for Nast and carter

  5. AppealToReason - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    “Selling” might be the best way to wake the team up. Move a few of those soon to be FAs and I wouldn’t be surprised if that offers the shakeup the team needs. Addition by subtraction

  6. achershberger819 - Feb 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Semins gotta go, he’s the epitome of the inconsistency that kills this team. I say trade vokoun also, he’s not gonna be back next year. Then find a coach for next year

    • jpelle82 - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      the vokoun signing looks to be the smartest thing mcphee has done in a while…only signing him to one year that is…

  7. stldfense - Feb 21, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    I think the caps should unload the pre-Madonna Ovechkin

  8. dcfan4life - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Sell is a hard word because the players he mentions are not top of the line guys anymore. Getting rid of them has a good chance of helping, not hurting the team. Trade Hamerlik, Shultz, Knuble, Semin, and bring in younger defensemen and promote from Hershey. Still plenty of talent down there waiting for there shot. Last 3 seasons some key promotions plaid big roles down the stretch.

  9. rainyday56 - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Trade Ovie to Pens for barganing rights to Crosby. Sell rights and franchise to Quebec.

    • govtminion - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      Is there an adult watching you?

  10. dipthatchip - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    keep the following people and get rid of anyone else- 27, 21, 20, 70, 74, 81

  11. elvispocomo - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Most teams certainly wouldn’t want Ovi or Semin, but could Green be useful to someone, is there really that much risk there of him becoming too injury prone to be able to play? The Canucks have a very useful, but oft injured D-man in Salo, and we’re happier with him than without, but I guess it comes down to whether or not Green can not be a liability if he doesn’t get two point every three games. He certainly isn’t a complete defenceman, but that offensive ability is definitely intriguing.

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